Vineyard Spotlight: Winston Hill

Where it all began

In 1990, Rich Frank purchased a Tudor home in the Napa Valley’s Rutherford AVA on a hillside with a small vineyard, initially selling off the fruit growing on the property to neighboring producers. He named the special parcel of land after his Springer-Spaniel, who ran through the rows chasing birds and protecting the crop.

Right after moving into the house, my phone started ringing off the hook from wineries wanting my grapes, and I quickly realized I had something very special, Rich says.

Not long after, it became the first vineyard in Frank Family Vineyards’ collection, set in the prestigious Rutherford viticultural appellation, rising nearly 500 feet above the valley floor. Winston Hill is our first estate vineyard and produces wines acclaimed as First Growth quality, with 35 planted acres across the 107-acre lot, that receives some of the longest hours of sunshine in the valley. Its grapes produces our flagship wine, Patriarch, along with the Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Rutherford Reserve Sangiovese. And, of course, our Winston Hill Red Wine, a Bordeaux-style blend.

The Inspiration

This one piece of land is where Frank Family’s story began, inspiring Rich’s purchase of Kornell Champagne Cellars and eventually more than 380 acres of estate vineyards. It’s also where Rich and Leslie were engaged, cemented its importance as part of the family legacy.

The Vines

Extensive hand labor balances the vine canopy and maintains extremely low yields, producing rich and concentrated berries, the primary variety of which is Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot for blending estate wines. Typical warm, summer days not only give way to cool nights with soft mountain breezes, but also create a soil consisting of well-drained, volcanic deposits and sandstone.

So the next time you pop a bottle of Winston, you are savoring decades of hard work, a little luck, and a legacy in the making.

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